Windsor, N.J. - In an annual project that encourages Mercer
County's high school students to explore their creative and
artistic talents, faculty and administrators at Mercer County
Community College welcomed students and their families to
Kelsey Theatre on April 12. The event marked the publication
of Aspirations 2011, the college's journal for
teen writers and artists. Seventy-one writers and 26 artists,
a number with multiple submissions, were selected from 12
area high schools. Cover art, entitled "Los Manos,"
was done by 12th grader Stacy Kamin, of Hightstown High School.
Editor Bettina Caluori, an MCCC associate professor of English,
praised the assembled students for seeking to "find their
identity, announce their convictions, and prepare to meet
their futures." Caluori observed that the journal is
aptly named. "It is a spirited and thought-provoking
tour of students' aspirations. Don't be afraid to make your
mark," she advised. This year's panel of judges included
nine MCCC faculty members and representatives from 10 of the
county's high schools.
poetry, personal essays and artwork captured a variety of
mindsets and subject matter. In a reflection piece entitled
"My Story," Sara Cieslik, of Hamilton High School
West, describes her willingness to stumble as she strives
to find her voice: "
And so I kept on walking along
that rocky path; often falling and falling again,/But each
time I would get up, hold my head high, looking straight ahead/Because
I have a beautiful story in me, a story I had to tell
Another student, Nikita Patel, of Hightstown High school,
speaks to personal growth and an unknown, but exciting, future
in her poem "I Used to Be But Now." "I used
to be drizzle/But now I'm a hurricane; I used to be a pillow/But
now I'm a rock; I used to be wind/But now I'm hail; I used
to be feathers/But now
MCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Donald Generals,
noted that Aspirations continues to be a meaningful partnership
between the college and the community. "This publication
represents the best of what our community is about - encouraging
our young people to write and think. It's the foundation of
whatever else you will go on and do," he said to the
students. Dr. Generals thanked teachers and families for supporting
these teens in their creative pursuits.
Also participating in the ceremony were MCCC Dean of Liberal
Arts Robin Schore and Dean of Business and Technology Judy
opened with a presentation by MCCC Theatre students under
the direction of Program Coordinator Jody Person. They created
interpretive pieces to accompany selected readings, while
artwork featured in Aspirations was displayed
on a screen above the Kelsey stage.
Funding is provided in part through a grant from the Mercer
County Cultural and Heritage Commission and the New Jersey
Council on the Arts.
Theatre students interpret journral readings through movement,
with Aspirations student artwork in the background.
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